‘Beach City Drift‘ was the next installment of last summer’s ‘Summer of Steven’ special. Centering around Steven, Connie, and their fusion, Stevonnie, it was the 89th episode of ‘Steven Universe.’ It aired July 22nd 2016.
The episode begins with Steven playing in his dad’s new car before Connie arrives. Now that Greg is considerably rich, he has plenty of money to spend on a new car, even if it’s far too small to live in. Connie comments that the car is used and not, in fact, new at all to which Greg informs them that the car comes from an era of “frosted tips, mood rings, slap bracelets.” The kids are about to help Greg clean his car when Kevin in a fancy yellow sports car pulls up and demands a wash. Despite his rudeness, Greg obliges but Steven becomes frustrated with him. Eventually Kevin just leaves without paying.
Connie tells the story of how her and Steven met Kevin when they first fused into Stevonnie in ‘Alone Together.’ The kids are both still frustrated that Kevin was a creep and did not respect their feelings when he insisted they dance with him. Desperate to exact revenge on him somehow, the two decide to fuse and enter a car race against Kevin to beat him and teach him a lesson.
At the car park, after Kevin beats Jenny Pizza in a race, Stevonnie emerges to challenge him with Greg’s car. While Ronaldo busies himself fawning over the car, Kevin realises that Stevonnie is the two kids from the car wash but they deny it. He continues to tease them, saying that he’s too old for them, until they lose their cool and challenge him again. The terms of the race are set that the last one to the bottom of the mountain loses.
At the top of the mountain, Kevin comments about how beautiful the view is up this high before racing off. Stevonnie quickly catches up though, surprisingly driving the car quite well. The two remain neck and neck for a large portion of the race but it doesn’t stop Kevin jeering them. Stevonnie asks why Kevin has to be such a jerk and he gives them a fake sob story about his brother being sick, which Stevonnie believes. He reveals it to be a lie and further mocks them. Stevonnie becomes distressed and disoriented, only seeing Kevin’s car as the road crumbles away until they panic and unfuse.
Connie becomes upset and says that the only reason they fused was because of Kevin. Steven realises that they are both unhealthily obsessed with him, even if it’s for a different reason than Kevin himself thinks. They decide to fuse again to finish the race but for themselves instead of for revenge. When Kevin tries to taunt them again, they don’t care and ignore him, instead looking at the view from the mountains. Kevin ultimately wins but Stevonnie simply offers him a handshake for a good race. They then drive off into the distance as Kevin yells that they’re obsessed with him after the car.
The most notable reference in this episode of ‘Steven Universe’ is from the title ‘Beach City Drift.’ Most likely it was coined as a reference to ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.’ Others have noted that much of the car racing in the episode resembles scenes from the anime series ‘Initial D.‘ The area where they race resembles the Akina Pass from the anime and the driving sequences with the series of close-ups is a widely parodied concept from the series. Another smaller reference is a nod to Disney’s ‘Lady and the Tramp‘ when Greg shows a picture of him eating spaghetti with the car.
The episode offers a lot of necessary insight into how Steven and Connie’s relationship has developed since they first fused. They are confident in fusing and they appear to be able to do it at will. The episode importantly gives them the opportunity to understand the complexity of fusion and how it is not something that should be done lightly, such as for revenge. Thus, Stevonnie manages to successfully come out as a more stable fusion who exists for the right reasons after all.